A plea has been filed before the Supreme Court seeking directions to the Centre to draft a stringent and comprehensive penal code, instead of ‘existing outdated laws relating to corruption and crime’. It also seeks to replace the 161 years old ‘colonial’ Indian Penal Code of 1860.

Rule of Law and Right to life liberty & dignity can’t be secured without implementing a stringent and comprehensive ‘One Nation One Penal Code’ having specific chapters on bribery, money laundering, black money, profiteering, adulteration, hoarding, black marketing, drug smuggling, gold smuggling and human trafficking,” the plea states at the outset.

Filed by BJP leader and Advocate Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay, the plea seeks constitution of a Judicial Commission or an Expert Committee to examine all domestic-international laws relating to corruption-crime. It has been filed through Advocate Ashwini Kumar Dubey.

In the alternative, the plea seeks directions to the Law Commission of India to examine domestic and internal laws relating to corruption and crime and draft a stringent comprehensive Indian Penal Code within six months.

The restructuring of IPC is desirable as many of its provisions have become obsolete with changing socio-economic developments and technological advances. Crimes like mob lynching, financial crimes, white-collar crimes, economic crimes, etc., have not found proper recognition in IPC 1860. There is uneven punishment for crimes of grievous hurt,” the Petitioner asserts.

It illustrates that chain-snatching is registered as an offence of robbery or theft, “depending upon the police mood”. Similarly, evils like witch hunting, honour killing, mob lynching etc. are not included in IPC though these are pan India offences. Whereas few States have protection against such offences, but sentence is different for the same offence.

Therefore, to standardize the punishment and make them uniform, a new IPC is essential. India needs a comprehensive Penal Code that provides equal protection to all the citizens against all the offences and secures right to life, liberty, dignity and rule of law,” the plea avers.

The plea has also urged the Court to pass appropriate orders and directions to improve India’s Ranking in Rule of Law Index and Corruption Perception Index.

The plea has pointed out that the Committee for Reforms in Criminal Law, constituted by Home Ministry in May 2020 had five ‘male’ members and there was not a single former Supreme Court or High Court Judge, former Solicitor/Additional Solicitor General, retired IAS/IPS Officer, Social Activist and Journalist in this Committee. The petitioner has argued that the Committee is neither inclusive nor competent enough to draft a new IPC (One Nation One Penal Code), hence the executive action is arbitrary and irrational.

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